Sunday, August 4, 2013

Live from Trackside - Honda Indy 200

Sunday, August 4
8:30 p.m.
Wow. It's hard to even describe the race today and my first IndyCar win with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing. I'm just so happy for the team, so thankful for all of the support, and so glad to have that first win under my belt!

This weekend was a total team effort. I crashed in practice yesterday morning, and the entire team pitched in to prepare my backup car so that we could qualify near the front. Then, it was a team call to split our race strategies, to hedge our bets among the three CGR cars.  It’s nice when the team gives you such a great car. The No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car was quick! All I needed to do was to hit the lap times they needed me to. For a while they were saying 67.5s, and I threw down a couple 67.1-second lap times. They said, “Okay, see if you can do a 66.” We just kept pushing the limit. Simon was on a similar strategy. I caught traffic at some of the wrong times, so that meant that he came out of pit lane ahead of us. But, we had the momentum to take the lead and make the pass for what turned out to be the win. The team made the call and then all I had to do was drop the hammer. Once out in front after the last stop, I just had to run clean to the finish. The car handled great and the Honda engine was strong all day long. What a fantastic day!

More later... After the podium ceremony, it was straight off to a press conference and satellite media tour. I'm ready for some food and hopefully some rest! Thanks again for all of the support!

Time to celebrate! Photo courtesy of LAT Photography.
Nice piece of hardware! Photo courtesy of LAT Photography.
10:15 a.m.
Good morning... it's race day! The weather is beautiful today, so I'm sure we'll get a great crowd here for the race. I had a relaxing evening here at the track and am feeling good for today's race.

I'm heading out to warm-up soon, then I'll be over at the Novo Nordisk FlexPen Tunnel at 12:30 p.m. in the INDYCAR Fan Village. Hope to see you there.

Tune in to the Honda Indy 200 at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and follow me on Twitter @racewithinsulin for updates from my Pit Lane Reporter!

Saturday, August 3
4:10 p.m.
Unfortunately this morning we just got caught out by the track conditions, and had a little dampness under the bridge. But it was great to bounce back and get a top-five starting spot. Today was a great effort by all the Chip Ganassi Racing guys! There were as many red shirts from the Target side in the garage, as there were orange shirts. They gave me the easy job of driving the racecar. While they changed the backup, all I had to do was go out and drive it. The boys deserved it. We had a really good car all week, starting at the test and during yesterday's practice.

I'm looking forward to starting from P5 tomorrow! For now, I'm headed to the IndyCar autograph session then it will be a pretty laid-back night, just dinner and lots of rest for the race. Thanks for the support everyone!

Qualifying at Mid-Ohio
9:30 a.m.
Good morning! I enjoyed my time with the Team USA Scholarship candidates last night. An impressive bunch of young drivers for sure!

We have one more practice session before qualifying later today. I think we're just going to keep working on improving the changes we've made so far this week and focus on preparing for a good qualifying run. It rained overnight, but it looks like we're in the clear until this evening. We'll see if weather plays a factor at all today.

Be sure to check out INDYCAR Race Control for live timing and scoring during qualifying at 2 p.m. ET, and watch the broadcast on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET.

Friday, August 2
5:30 p.m.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with today's practice sessions. The car is really good. We focused on making improvements from the open test on Wednesday to today and we’ve seen some positive changes. The No. 83 guys have been really good and quick on the changes, so even though we had a few red flags today, we were able to run as many laps as we wanted to. We’re taking care of sets of tires for the race weekend, as its looking like it’s going to be a three-stop, four-set race on Sunday so we have to keep that in mind all the way through practice.

12:30 p.m.
Just grabbing lunch and debriefing with engineers before our next practice session at 3:30. We're pretty happy with the car, so we've just been making small changes here and there. We'll keep watching the weather to see how it changes the track later today.

After an install lap.
Leaving pit lane.
Practice pit stop for the No. 83 crew.
9:40 a.m.
Good morning from Mid-Ohio! It's a slightly overcast, almost chilly morning here at the track, but it looks like the rain will stay away until later this evening. Since we had a good deal of running time on Wednesday, we'll just continue to make improvements on the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car as the track and weather conditions change. It's definitely a balance versus grip issue here so we'll use today's practice sessions to hopefully get that where we want it.

Later this evening, I'll be one of the judges for the 2013 Team USA Scholarship, which provides opportunities for young American drivers to compete internationally and gain valuable experience along the way. It's always great to meet the up-and-coming talent... keeps me on my toes, too!

Thursday, August 1
9:00 a.m.
I had a pretty good test session in the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car here at Mid-Ohio yesterday. We finished in the top-10 on the chart, got in a lot of laps but most importantly got a good feel for the track. It's been great to recharge these past couple of weekends, but the team and I were more than ready to get back to work. With my injury last year and having to sit out, it was nice to have the extra day in the car for the test to sort out what works best as far as my driving style and getting the most out of the car through the course. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team gave me a great car at Toronto and I have no doubt we'll be quick again this weekend. We're just one point out of the top-10 in championship standings, so I think with a good result we can get back to where we want to be.

Today I'm headed to Honda R&D's center in Ohio. I always look forward to appearances with Honda because we always get to learn about all of the technology, engineering and science behind the engines that power our IndyCars. Even if we're not at an IndyCar engine-specific factory, I know the research taken from every part of Honda's many divisions comes together to benefit the product that shows up at the track. And of course, what Honda learns at the race track goes back to develop consumer vehicles, performance models and more. So cool!

Here's a schedule for those at the track and those watching from home (all times Eastern):
Friday, Aug. 2
11-11:45 a.m. Practice
3:30-4:15 p.m. Practice
Saturday, Aug. 3
10:30-11:15 a.m. Practice
2-3:10 p.m. Qualifying (delayed broadcast at 5 p.m. on NBC Sports Network)
4:30-5:30 p.m. Autograph session (in the INDYCAR Fan Village)
Sunday, Aug. 4
11-11:30 a.m. Warm Up
12:30 p.m. Appearance at the Novo Nordisk FlexPen Tunnel (in the INDYCAR Fan Village)
3 p.m. Honda Indy 200 (live on NBC Sports Network)
Check INDYCAR Race Control for live timing and scoring during on-track sessions. Follow @RaceWithInsulin on Twitter for updates from my "Pit Lane Reporter" all weekend!

1 comment :

  1. Charlie, congrats on your win yesterday. Aberdeen UK